Students at Howard University in Washington, D.C., continued a sit-in yesterday to demand student representation on the Board of Trustees and to protest university housing conditions and lack of COVID-19 protocols, WUSA9 reported.
Dozens of students took over the Blackburn University Center late Tuesday after they said administrators failed to show up to a forum organized by the Howard University Student Association to discuss their concerns. The student demonstrators demand three action items: an in-person town hall with Howard University president Wayne A. I. Frederick by the end of October; the reinstatement of affiliate Board of Trustees positions — with voting power — for students, faculty and alumni; and the creation of a proposed housing plan by the president and chairman of the Board of Trustees designed “to protect the incoming classes of Howard’s immediate future.” Student demonstrators have complained of limited housing options and unlivable conditions on campus — including mold in some dorm rooms and rats and roaches in the Blackburn Café, a resident dining establishment. Other protesters have voiced concern about the lack of COVID-19 testing for students, DCist reported.
A photo taken by senior Aniyah Vines showed students in sleeping bags on couches and floors in the Blackburn center. Vines addressed the crowd of demonstrators, saying, “We are not here just to go to class. We are here to be leaders. We are here to be advocates. We are here to be change makers.”
Howard University administrators told WUSA9 they are not commenting on the sit-in at this time. In 2018, students held a nine-day sit-in after six Howard employees were fired for stealing money that should have gone to financial aid.